Saturday, May 26, 2018

PGA event leader Bradley keeps game just ahead of tracking Red Sox

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Keegan Bradley is playing so well at the CIMB Classic that not even the fact that his beloved Boston Red Sox are in the World Series can distract him.

Teeing off Friday in Malaysia as the Red Sox faced the Cardinals in Game 2 in Boston on Thursday night, Bradley sunk seven birdies — including five in six holes on his back nine — to shoot 6-under 66 for a four-stroke lead over Ryan Moore after two rounds.

He was at 13-under 131 for the tournament, an official event on the PGA Tour for the first time.

Bradley, who grew up in Woodstock, Vt., about 140 miles from Boston, is such a big Red Sox fan that his bio lists his "biggest thrill outside golf" as their World Series triumphs in 2004 and '07. But the former PGA Championship winner has kept his focus on golf even as he has gotten Series updates from his girlfriend, Jillian, on the course.

"In the back of my mind, I'm wondering what's going on (with the Red Sox)," he said. "I know my mom at home is flipping back and forth, watching."

Bradley had only one bogey in 36 holes at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Moore, who had 10 birdies to take the first-round lead, had three bogeys to go with three birdies to shoot par 72 to sit at 9-under 135, a stroke ahead of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Chris Stroud in a tie for third.

"Obviously it wasn't the round I had (Thursday) but amazingly enough it wasn't too dissimilar," Moore said. "I hit a lot of really good putts today that just were just right on the edge, burning the edges, so overall I'm still very happy with my game and where I'm at."

One player who isn't happy at all is Phil Mickelson, who again struggled with wayward drives a day after saying his swing is as bad as it has been in a long time. At the 10th hole, Mickelson pulled his tee shot left, just out of bounds under a tree. He clenched his teeth and muttered to himself but was in better spirits when he reached the ball, joking to the crowd, "Everybody okay? Sorry about that."

He birdied his last two holes to salvage 2-under 70 but was 10 strokes off the pace.

"I don't have the control of the swing that I'd like," he said. "I'm not sure which side I'm going to miss it on and playing this golf course from the rough, which I did today, is extremely difficult.

LPGA: Suzann Pettersen had a hole-in-one and increased her lead to five after Round 2 of the Taiwan Championship in Yangmei. The defending champion aced the 133-yard second hole with a pitching wedge and finished with 3-under 69 in swirling wind conditions to reach 7-under 137. South Korea's Sun Young Yoo (69) and Spain's Carlota Ciganda (70) were tied for second. Tampa resident Kristy McPherson (76) was at 153 and Tampa's Cindy LaCrosse (74) at 150.

Champions: Charles Schwab Cup leader Kenny Perry birdied five of the first six holes in his way to 7-under 65 to lead after one round at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, Texas. Tom Pernice was a stroke back. The top 30 on the money list after this event advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship next week in San Francisco.